California Tribes Are Pushing Hard for Sports BettingPublished February 5, 2020 by Elana K
A coalition of 18 California tribes has been given the go-ahead to collect nearly 1 million signatures in order to get a sports betting referendum on the November 2020 ballot.
A coalition of 18 California tribes has been given the go-ahead to collect nearly 1 million signatures in order to get a sports betting referendum on the November 2020 ballot. The tribes were previously against sports betting but over the past few months they changed their tune and have been strongly pushing for the referendum. Since the tribes operate over 70 casinos and generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state, they have some clout.
What Would Sports Betting Look Like According to the Tribes?
The text of the Tribes’ initiative calls for a 10 percent tax on gross gaming revenue, which will translate into tens of millions of dollars for the state. In addition to sports betting, the proposal includes legalizing roulette and dice games at tribal casinos and most horse racetracks. One thing that is not included is college betting - in fact, it is specifically excluded from the bill. Mobile betting is also not allowed, which means that operators may not be jumping to acquire licenses (assuming the proposal even makes it to the ballot).
The noticeable omissions mean that other interested parties will be eager to find solutions of their own. Representative Aaron Gray and Senator Bill Dodd already filed legislation in June 2019. It calls for state-wide mobile sports betting, which may appeal more to voters than a bill that doesn’t allow it. However, their proposal would also require voter approval, and as of now, the tribes are pushing their own initiative. It bears noting that the tribes only started their push after lawmakers submitted their proposal. Sports betting is a competitive field, and no one wants to miss out on a piece of the pie.
What’s Needed to Get the Referendum
The coalition of tribes has until June 25 to collect the requisite signatures, and they must report to the Secretary of State when they hit the 25 percent mark. If they get the signatures they need, the sports betting referendum will appear on the ballot in November 2020. Then voters will then get to decide whether they’d like to see the tribes’ version of legal sports betting in their state.